Bibbling bibblers

Bibble

I came across a wonderful word yesterday – bibble – which means to eat and/or drink noisily, or to tipple. Or in Yiddish it means to worry.

It comes from the Middle English bibben (to drink), from the Latin bibō (I drink), from Proto-Indo-European *peh₃- (to drink) [source].

If you’re a bibbling bibbler, you may need a bib, which comes from the same root, and originally meant to drink heartily [source]. While bibbling, maybe you’ll engage in some bibble-babble (idle talk, babble), possibly in a bibbery (drinking house), which would be bibacious.

The words imbibe, potion and potable come from the same root, as do words for to drink in various languaages, including: ól (Irish), òl (Scottish Gaelic), yfed (Welsh), eva (Cornish), boire (French), and beber (Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Asturian & Aragonese).

Words for beer Slavic languages come from the same root as well: pivo (Croatian, Czech, Slovak & Slovenian), piwo (Polish, Sorbian), and пиво (Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Macedonian & Serbian).

Разговорник

I came across a useful Russian word today when searching for Chechen phrasebooks – разговорник (razgavornik) [rəzɡɐˈvornʲɪk] – I guessed it meant phrasebook from the context, and also because разговаривать (razgavarivat’) means to talk (to).

It is a combination of разговор (razgavór – conversation, talk) and the suffix ник (nik), which usually denotes a profession, performer, place, object, tool or a feature.

Here are some related words and examples of use:

– го́вор = the sound of talking, voices or speech; murmur; dialect; pronunciation, accent
– говори́ть = to talk, to speak, to say, to tell
– это другой разговор! = that’s another matter!
– без разговоров = without a word
– Мне даже не нужно об этом разговаривать = I don’t even need to talk about it
– Но мне не хочется сегодня разговаривать = Sorry, but I don’t feel much like talking tonight

There are many more Russian words which come from the same root: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/говорить

Other words that use the suffix ник include:

– дневник (dnevnik) = diary
– спутник‎ (sputnik) = fellow traveler; satellite
– ученик‎ (učenik) = schoolboy
– учебник‎ (učebnik) = textbook

This suffix is also used on some English words, such as beatnik, peacenik, refusenik, and on loanwords from Yiddish like nudnik (a bore, pest, annoying person), nogoodnik (a person who is no good), which probably comes from the Russian негодник ‎(negodnik – worthless person, reprobate, ne’er-do-well). The last too are new to me. Have you heard them before?

Sources: Reverso, Wiktionary

Neither fur nor feather

Ни пуха, ни пера

Today I came across an interesting Russian idiom in the book I’m reading (Moon Seed, by Stephen Baxter): Ни пуха, ни пера (Ni púkha, ni perá). It means literally “neither fur nor feather” and is used to wish someone good luck.

The phrase was originally used by Russian hunters in a sarcastic/ironic way. The feathers referred to birds, and the fur to animals, so they were saying that they hoped that the other hunters wouldn’t catch any birds or animals.

The usually reply to this phrase is К чёрту (K chëtu), which means “to the devil” or “go to hell”, and is saying “the hell I won’t”.

Source: http://www.linguajunkie.com/learning/russian-proverbs-sayings

An equivalent of this phrase in English is “break a leg”, which is traditionally said to actors to wish them luck before they go on stage, especially on the opening night. According to theatrical superstition it’s bad luck to wish someone good luck.

This phrase first appeared in writing in May 1948 in the The Charleston Gazette as:

“Another [superstition] is that one actor should not wish another good luck before a performance but say instead ‘I hope you break a leg.”

There is a similar phrase in German, Hals und Beinbruch (break your neck and leg), which was apparently used by the Luftwaffe during WWII. This might come from the Hebrew blessing hatzlakha u-brakha‘ (success and blessing), which might have made it’s way into English via German and Yiddish.

Source: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/break-a-leg.html

Are there idiomatic ways to wish people luck in other languages?